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Varanus salvator


Varanus salvator

Family Name: Varanidae
Taxonomic Group: Vertebrates (Reptile)
Common Name: Malayan Water Monitor


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Taxonomic Group 2
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Common Names


Size 3 m
Description One of the largest lizard species in the whole. Large with thick and leathery skin, and non-overlapping scales. Tongue slender and forked. Long flattened snout, with nostrils positioned close to the tip. Juveniles are black with pale ventral surfaces, and bands made up of rows of yellow spots along their backs and tails. This colour pattern fades as juveniles mature, and large adults are often plain greyish-brown.

Ecology, Habitat & Location

Ecological Notes Tend to stay close to water bodies. Mainly terrestrial but also climbs trees and is a good swimmer and diver. Diurnal and feeds on small animals and fish.
Habitats Forest, Mangroves, Parks & Gardens, Terrestrial
Distribution Widespread throughout Singapore. Distributed from Sri Lanka and southern China, and throughout Southeast Asia.
Nature Reserves Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Nature Areas Kranji Mangrove, Kranji Nature Trail, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin


Species Status Native
Conservation Status Common




References Baker, N. & Lim, K. 2008. Wild animals of Singapore. Singapore: Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte Ltd. 180pp

Cox, M.J., van Dijk, P.P., Nabhitabhata, J. & Thirakhupt, K. 1998. A photographic guide to snakes and other reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. United Kingdom: New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. 144pp


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Species record last updated on: 29 January 2024.

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